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Live Science: The 12 Biggest 'Little' Mysteries of Fall — Solved!

By Stephanie Pappas

'Tis the season of colorful leaves, mulled cider and — dare we say it? — pumpkin spice. Fall spans from the autumn equinox, when the sun is directly over the equator and the length of day and night are equal, to the winter solstice, when the sun is at its most northerly and the Northern Hemisphere's day is at its shortest. There's more to fall than cable-knit sweaters and harvest feasts, though. Plenty of curious questions come with the season. Read on for the most intriguing "Life's Little Mysteries" that we've gathered over years of watching the season come and go.

Why is your nose running so much?

Fall ushers in the start of flu season, but that's not the only reason the season might be hard on the airways. According to the National Institutes of Health, autumn can be a prime time for seasonal allergies. Pollen counts may fall, but mold counts in the air rise as rotting leaves and dying vegetation decompose. Dry indoor air can exacerbate sniffly symptoms by irritating the lining of the nose, according to Dr. Jay M. Portnoy, chief of allergy, asthma and immunology at Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri.

Why is it so gloomy out?

Fall's moody weather may bring dark clouds, heavy with rain. But why are rain clouds so dark, anyway? The reason is that rain clouds tend to be a lot thicker than the puffy, harmless clouds that are unlikely to spawn showers. The larger the droplets of water in a cloud, the better they are at absorbing sunlight. Tiny, misty droplets in a fluffy, white cloud scatter light from across the spectrum — giving those clouds their white hue. Bigger droplets in heavier clouds also scatter light, but they do it so well that by the time the sunlight reaches the bottom of the cloud, there isn't much left for the eye to catch. As a result, the base of a thick rain cloud looks dark and ominous.


Read the full list via Live Science

Learn more about Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology at Children's Mercy